The S.A.M. and Harry Houdini
The Society of American Magicians started with 13 men in New York City in the back room of Martinka's Magic Shop, a store that Harry Houdini would eventually own for a short time. Harry Houdini sent in his application from Europe. Harry Houdini was officially initiated in 1904 upon returning to the states. As part of the ceremony Harry Houdini escaped from a pair of handcuffs that would thereafter be on exhibit in the shop. The SAM was organized May 19, 1902, and incorporated in New York, April 3, 1908. In 1904 it would begin to accept members from throughout the world. In June of 1908 he was elected Vice Preisident. He dropped out for a short time. Then being the most famous mystery entertainer in the world the Society of American Magicians recognized the fact when in April of 1912 he was unanimously elected hm an honorary member. In 1916 other branches were encouraged to be added. When Harry Houdini joined he began to promote it throughout the world and was eventully elected president for some 9 years. Harry Houdini was elected president June 2, 1917. He immediately started to inaugurate other Assemblies. He personally arranged for spcial meetings and paid all expnses; rooms in hotels, stenographers, refreshments and minor banquets. He even took time to write their monthly journal. He also left quite a bit in his will to the SAM and put their crest on his grave site. It grew to about 2,000 members and has not gotten much bigger. By 1927 it grew to 17 assemblies.

The society was basically for adults, with youngsters not being able to join.

A club for youngsters that existed in New York City in the early 1940'a was The Peter Pan Magic later in the 1950's to be called F.A.M.E. A few earlier members of the Peter Pan Magic Club before it became F.A.M.E. included George Schindler, Stan Burns, George Gilbert (Lott), Albert Goshman, Ken Krenzel, Jack London (Harry Rifas), Danny O'Brien (Blackwood), George Sands, Vic Sendax, Len Cooper, Sonny Sklar, Jerry Bergman, Howie Schwartzman.

In the 1950's the then members decided the name of the club was childish and changed it to FAME (Future American Magical Entertainers) and included Dick Brookz, Ken Silverman, John Hope, Richard Bangs, Al Callus, David Levy, Burt Kaplan, Jeff Spiller, Dan Ritchard, Mike Eberton, Melvin Kelger,Sheldon Weiner, Mike Goldstein, Leonard Heller, Kichi Iamoto, Hank Lifson, Jerry Goldstein and many others. (see official 1952 roster below) At that time it was run by Antoinette Deutch, Bob White, and Lou Dick. The acronym FAME came about when the members decided the Peter Pan name was a bit childish, especially after a comment from comedy magician Carl Ballantine, "I love your peanut butter". The FAME acronym was suggested by Dick Brookz. Now youngsters can join a new organization, SYM (Society of Young Magicians), which is a branch of the SAM. (Society of American Magicians)

Dr. Abraham Hurwitz, also known as Peter Pan the Magic Man, originally headed up the club. Hurwitz was a Yeshiva University education professor who was so deft and admired at his magic act that he was named New York City's "official magician" by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

Doc Hurwitz (Peter Pan the Magic Man)

Dr. Hurwitz was a city recreation director when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia gave him the official magician title during the Depression. For 18 years, he took his magic show to schools and recreation centers and put on annual magic shows in parks in every borough. For years after he left the department he continued his magic shows as a volunteer. Among his proteges was his daughter, Shari Lewis, the world famous ventriloquist and developer of Lamb Chop.

Abe Hurwitz was born in Lithuania in 1906. He graduated from City College of New York, got his master's degree from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in educational guidance from New York University. He began mixing magic with teaching as a guidance counselor at the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphanage. He retired from Yeshiva in 1974. He died September 29, 1981.

More bio and FAME info:
Whaley, Bart. Who's Who in Magic, An International Biographical Guide From Past to Present. Wallace, Idaho: Jeff Busby Magic, Inc., 1991.
"Obituary: Abraham Hurwitz Dead at 76; New York's Official Magician." The New York Times 1 October 1981: Section B; Page 12, Column 5.
Thanks to magician and former SAM President George Schindler for his help in accumulating and checking the accuracy of much of the information on this page as well as supplying several pictures..

George Schindler

Stan Burns

Al Goshman

George Sands

Howie Schwartzman

Howie Schwartzman

Dick Brookz

Dan Ritchard

Early members of F.A.M.E.

Barbizon Plaza show for IBM
Woman is Antoinette Deutch who worked for NYC parks department
Short person to her right is David Levy, to his right is Kichi Iwamoto.
Top row center in dark suit is Ken Silverman, who is to become a pulitzer prize winner and writer of "Harry Houdini, The Career of Ehrich Weiss"
Male adult on the other end of this row is Bob White.
April 27, 1951(?)

Front row, Al Callus, Richie Bangs, David Levy (Holding
FAME banner), Eugene Heller, Len Frank.
Behind Al Callus with the cards is John "Vincenzio" Hope

Al Callus

Officers of the club. 1) Ken Silverman, 2) Al Callus,
3) Bob White, 4) Len Heller, 5) Eugene Frank 6) David Levy
Ken would later become a Pulitzer Prize winning author,
and would also write Harry Houdini's most comprehensive biography,
"Harry Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss"

Rich Bangs, later to become
a president of the SAM, the
same original assembly that
Harry Houdini was president of for
some 10 years, that expanded
world wide during
Harry Houdini's tenure.

David Levy

Burt Kaplan

Ken Silverman, was doing shows

Show for the International Brotherhood of Magicians in 1951

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Web Sites of Interest

Magicians Calendar. | Harry Houdini site. | | The Harry Houdini Seances. | The Jinxed Bullet Catch! | Origianl Harry Houdini Seance. | CityDirectories | GuestMagazine | HoneymoonDirectory | HoneymoonDiscounts | houdini.org | Pocono.net | Pocono.org | PoconoCoupons | PoconoDiscounts | PoconoFunGuide | PoconoGetaway | PoconoGetaways | PoconoHoneymoon | PoconoHoneymoons | PoconoHotels | PoconoRestaurants | PoconosHoneymoon | PolarAuctions | http://Scranton.org | WhereToFindTravel | KaeserBlair wholesale imprinted souvenirs | Comprehensive listing of magic events throughout the world | Haunted events throughout the world that run most of the year. |

The Harry Houdini Museum attractions in Scranton, Pennsylvania PA, near Wilkes Barre in the Pocono Mountain or Poconos Mountains region features Harry Houdini's biography and quotes and is near many resorts, hotels and motels where tourists spend their vacations.

This web site includes Houdini's biography, Houdini's tricks, Houdini's death, Houdini quotes, the Houdini movies or Houdini movies, our Houdini Inc., Houdini's real last name, and Houdini's magic.

Website of Scranton Magician Dick Brookz
Address: 1433 N. Main Ave., Scranton, Pennsylvania (PA), 18508

Things to do in Scranton